Alpha Omega M.D. – Final Episode

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Final Episode

…Alpha O. Campbell, M.D. deserved a better fate. Gwendolyn Hoff has given it to him. Thank you for the privilege of writing this story.

A.O., God rest your soul. It has been one wild ride!…

When We Last Left

In chapters 8 and 9 we are introduced to suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who is an admitted sidetrack. Company Town-001The company town Blountstown is the Calhoun County seat, but it is mere fodder for the overall story. Company towns can really be like Blountstown.

All the above, as in Episode #333, is a lead-up to our late involvement in WWI, where we meet Sir James KISS FOR CINDERELLA-001Matthew Barrie, the prolific playwright and cousin to John Ferrell. John Ferrell’s supply ship, the Panama City, never sailed, was not sunk by U-Boat submarines, though the elder Ferrell did indeed die in 1916; such a blue-blooded way to Pearson Eastman Journal-001die, helping your Scottish ancestors through a tough time.

Chapters 10 and 11 encompass that bloody 1st world war, along with the deadly influenza that started inPearson Eastman Journal-001 Europe and traveled back to the US. 30 million people died worldwide and that is about the time that Alpha Omega Campbell began practicing medicine.

After the doctor and Maggie wed in 1918, they both had affairs that produced Maggie Lou-001children. Maggie’s dalliance produced middle daughter, Laura. That little child was so fair-skinned, right banker Lewis? Alpha, for his part, did father a child; it’s just that whether it was with Camille Diaz is buried amongst the Careless Whispers. Camille is fictional.

Alice Paul did argue for the cause of the right for women to vote, which was a hard fought and contentious lead-up to the Roaring Twenties, but is window dressing for my purposes.

Those Roaring years of flappers and debauchery are bypassed here, as is the Great Depression. It Image result for r.i.pseems the author (me) does not deal well with hard times, which resurface in the closing chapters, a.k.a. the happy, or rather, calm ending. So From the Ashes emerges the mid-1930’s. We lose great characters Harv Pearson, Herbert Love and Phoebe. We’ve already left the Endlichoffer’s behind and the elder Ferrells.

James Ferrell LawyerJames Ferrell becomes the Dr.’s lawyer and we are (re)introduced to Carolyn Hanes (Constance Caraway – Private Eye) and her lover Sara Fenwick (Fanny Constance Caraway P.I.-001Renwick). Like the incest episode between James and Agnes, this Lesbian relationship is a glimpse into life in the South, as well as real life. This statement is not meant to offend, it’s just that things happen down there that are “different”, perhaps more frequently or just a figment of fertile fancy.

Newt Swakhammer-001       Chapters, Hospitable, Inhospitable fly us to Area 51 and an alien contact. Good ol’ Newt Swakhammer, what a guy? The government calls him a crank. But the year 1947 harbors UFO’s, as well as the brick & mortar of Laura Bell Memorial Hospital… born of Alpha O. Campbell’s spirit, the building itself is one large lightning rod; meant for good, yet attracting an LBMH-001onslaught of controversy and hardship.

We look back at Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, along 434f7-disneylandwith the world of Cinderella. And then we are bounced ahead to Michael Rennie and Walt Disney; what an odyssey of entertainment.

 

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latobsd3-001As for the remainder of THE LIFE & TIMES, not so many pages back, your imagination isLATOBSD4-001 the king. My imagination has splattered the backdrop of history from way-back 1896, all the way up to the dawn of John Fitzgerald Kennedy… Just the dawn, mind you, then you are reeled back to 1955.

Isn’t that rude? But look at the payoff. Instead of an old man in jail, we LBMHhappen upon a Laura Bell Memorial Hospital with a future. What a shame that this was not the ending to the saga of one of the first Black doctors in gwenFlorida. In my rosy reality, we all have access to Alice’s Wonderful Looking Glass.

Alpha O. Campbell, M.D. deserved a better fate. Gwendolyn Hoff has given it to him. Thank you for the privilege of writing this story.

 A.O., God rest your soul. It has been one wild ride! 

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Copyright © 2020 by Gwendolyn K Hoff   All Rights Reserved


Alpha Omega M.D.

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– Final Episode

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #330

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #330

…Both A.O. & JOB had endured the worst that the Devil could do, short of laying a hand on them…

job_on_the_dunghill-by-gonzalo_carrasco_-_

Job on the Dunghill by Gonzalo Carrasco

Doctor Alpha Omega Campbell was released from the Leon County Jail that early September day. He had just been reading The Book of Job in his King James Version bible, when the news of freedom reached down to him. Job, a devoted servant of God, had been eyed by Satan. Surely he would abandon his God when his wealth, family and health were taken from him? Job did not.

And though the Doctor was clearly not as blameless as was Job, he had been reborn to forgiveness by the sacrifice Our Father made, in the death of his only Son; Once for all.

Job: Chapter 42, vs. 12, after all was said and done, ‘The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.’ He had endured the worst that the Devil could do to him, short of laying a hand on him. And never did he abandon his adoration of his Lord and Savior.

Renewed, restored. Admonished, advised.

“Don’t you dare think about performing another abortion, spanish-mossA.O.,” does Carolyn exhort, once they had cleared the jail’s grounds. It is a cathartic walk to Joe Slater’s four-seat automobile.

Joe had fallen asleep in the shade of an evergreen tree, a few blocks north and west of the jail, Spanish moss dangling downward, swayed by a gentle breeze. Having met his segment of responsibility, he could only stand by… horizontally.

band-aid_tin“Don’t you worry Miss Hanes, I am done with all that,” easier said than done… harder to pull off.

“Bob and I have talked this over, you know, as it applies to your cash flow. Our money would only be a Band-Aid.” She refers to the 1921 Johnson & Johnson invention of an adhesive bandage. “We believe that a white wing, or in the case of your hospital, floor, is the definitive solution. That notion that you need one makes me ill, but we cannot change the world, at least all at once. We are doing the legal footwork to make it happen. Whites will come to be treated and they will pay their way.

“Additionally, we will find you a bookkeeper. Maggie Lou is going to be on a budget, for your own good.”

Such is the gravity of the situation.


Alpha Omega M.D.

ISBN 978-1-4691-9018

Episode #330


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #316

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 316

…Well, he said that you had a reputation for helpin’ girls like me, you know, white girls not affording no more children and a husband out at sea….

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Out at Sea by Hans Breeman

“When did you notice that somethin’ wasn’t right?” Campbell had put his stethoscope to her lower belly earlier and came to an early conclusion. He wants to peel away the layers of her previous treatment. “And why did you come to me, ‘stead of Doc Wright?”

Well, he said that you had a reputation for helpin’ girls like me, you know, white girls not affording no more children and a husband out at sea.

  “Really… all the way from Jacksonville and he knows ‘bout a little ol’ black doctor in the Panhandle. Did he tell you I ain’t got a wing at my hospital for white folks? My doctor friends don’t think I have the right to fix up whites. I reckon you all must have different colored blood under that pale skin; Blue blood Confederates are you?” A.O. knows that the lies he was told as a youth, was that slaves were inferior to their white masters. He has left much of that emancipation baggage behind, though the memory of being rushed across the railroad trestle still is fresh in his 20th century mind. The saying of that time was, ‘Once a slave, white-folk-bingo-001always a slave.’

How ironic it is. White folks have the money to pay for his services, but they cannot occupy a single bed at LBMH. House calls and services rendered at FAMU Hospital do not put a dent in the $250,000 mortgage, now a mighty anchor tied around his ankle. His beds are occupied by people caught in the margins of society.

“You have to help me Doc Campbell, my baby ain’t movin’, I know it.”

“Do what’s right Mr. Campbell!” Enter Mrs. Mary Gray. She had been mulling around in the background, watching her daughter, Audrie Franich, twisting A.O.’s arm in an attempt to bring this nightmare to an end. “My little girl needs some way out of this mess.”

          Mary Gray’s tone was not at all kind, downright demanding. It was like she was making a deal with the Devil; the only way out, but distasteful none-the-less. She appears to not have much use for black folk, though it may be a fruitless prejudice, especially in northern Florida. But unavoidable does not translate into acceptance.

“Go in and see Nurse Lillie and tell her to take you to Room 205.” Down and down the slippery slope. A.O. Campbell has a soft spot for folks that have seemingly nowhere else to turn.

(Lera Lynn music featured on True Detective)


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode # 316


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #301

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #301

…The white father shakes A.O.’s hand like it is covered with slime, offering the doc only a limp and halfhearted appendage. “No one can find out about this, you understand?…

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braceT LFT“Oh, my dear, sweet, glorious Lord, have mercy on this ol’ man. You have given us so much, blessed us ‘seedinly, but it still ain’t enough. I have to help out those poor young girls that is wit child and no accounts for boyfriends or husbands. An’ there’s some bad ones out there callin’ theyselves doctors that’ll be butcherin’ them girls. They be best off wit someone who can care proper for ‘em.

“Now I ain’t askin’ for any trouble. I’ma goin’ to need your devine pretectin’. There is folks that would love to visit me in jail.”

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It had been a long day at the hospital for Alpha Campbell. There has been a big run of the flu making it rounds through Tallahassee’s 1952 growing population. It isn’t the killer variety that killed millions back in 1918, but it transmits very well, too well and he has all he can do to make it back in time to meet a late night patient at his clinic. He is tired and hungry, but there is an extremely anxious father in his waiting room, with an equally nervous daughter, soundly pregnant, in tow.

“I don’t want to lose my baby, daddy. Can’t I raise it at home?  Okay, I’ll get a job then and findmy_little_girl1 a place of my own.”

“You are goin’ to graduate high school, Missy and that’s that. There ain’t a man, well a good one anyhow, in Duval County who’d marry a whore with a baby.”

That last phrase was uncalled for. There are many girls in the South who do not complete their secondary education; most of the time, people of the town neither notice nor care. Women stay home, raise a family, while their husbands go out and win the bacon.

At least that was what it was like before the Second World War. ‘It is hard to keep them in the home, once they’ve built a battleship’. Missy’s mother was one of those women in the shipyards of Jacksonville. Missy’s father, having lived through that, will not have his little girl doomed to factory work. She is going to have an abortion, finish high school and hopefully marry a good man who will take care of her, so she can raise him handfuls of grandchildren… someday.

“I’ll need to keep Milicent four days.”

“It’s Missy, doctor.” He is getting names mixed up. Milicent was the name of his first abortion patient, years ago.

“Oh yes, Missy. So, come back on Thursday, you can take her home then.”

“Thank you, doctor.” The white father shakes A.O.’s hand like it is covered with slime, offering the doc only a limp and halfhearted appendage. “No one can find out about this, you understand?

The common threads that tie every one of these illegal procedures together: ‘No one can find http://www.dreamstime.com/-image2615801about this.’ ‘Bring your affairs to Doc Campbell in Tallahassee and he will keep things private.’ Sure, that claim is not exclusive to abortion, not with venereal disease and mastectomies out there, but when a white girl shows up at the back door of LBMH, odds are that she is pregnant, though not for long.

“Oh, yessir, you can count on that.” A.O. has no intentions sharing nature of his less-than-legal sideline with anyone, including family. Only his nurses, like Lilly Chevis, know the extent of the doctor’s circumnavigation of the laws of the state of Florida and she is none too comfortable with her involvement. She and Lettie Golden will continue to help out, driven by their loyalty to a truly good man.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #301


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #296

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #296

…The Negro community in Florida will look back at what A.O. Campbell has done with great pride, and the promise that success is there for all who are willing to work hard…

LBMH

New Jersey was memorable for A.O. Campbell, after making the longest house call in his career. He delivered a healthy baby girl for his daughter Angela and it was nice seeing Camille Diaz again. She was so happy to be a grandmother, a tailor-made fit for a loving woman. It makes him wonder what it would have been like if she had been a part of his life. One thing for sure, she would make do with a lot less than Maggie Lou.

   He returns to Florida with a dark cloud overhead. His hospital has turned into a money pit and he has lost perhaps his greatest asset, his lawyer and friend, James Ferrell. His wife, Abbey and sister Agnes were with James to the end, trying to get him to pull through, but the antibiotics were no match for lungs filled with mucous. He used some of his last conscious moments to write a note to A.O. Campbell.Image result for watching you

Scribbled on a scrap of hospital paper, the one line read:

Be careful, Alpha. I think they are watching you. Call R. Worth Moore, he knows.

Shortly after that, the Ferrell legacy fell into the lap of the Ferrell women. Neither James nor Cyril Odz were able to produce a child and the Ferrell grocery chain, the pride of father John, was bought out by Food Fair a more national company. Why is it that a good longtime family like the Ferrells dies on the vine and the stinkers like the Lewis and Wilson clans reproduce like vermin?

The Campbells are hanging in there, but again without a male heir. With A.O. into his sixties, his empire an extension of John Ferrell – via Maggie Lou, there is a perceivable end to a historic dynasty. The Negro community in Florida will look back at what A.O. Campbell has done with great pride, and the promise that success is there for all who are willing to work hard.

LBMH-001 Success does come with a price tag. That and .75 cents gets you a ride on the bus to Panama City. That and $252.50 gets you a mortgage on a hospital. Unless he lives to be 88 years old, he probably will not see that debt retired. The plan was to pay it off in ten years, but that was contingent on other doctors, black or otherwise, working out of it.

And that did not happen. So on January 23rd of 1951, at the age of 62, when some lucky Americans retire with a pension, Mr. J.L. Lewis recommends Doctor A.O. Campbell for active staff appointment at A&M Hospital. His family simply needed the money. Vacant lots and run down houses do not pay the bills. Even the lots on Campbell Lake go unsold. Real estate taxes are gobbling up rental revenue.

Communist witch-hunts, yet another foreign war, blatant racism and back-stabbing friends, can be summed up with one word: inhospitable.


Alpha Omega M.D.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR

Episode #296


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #274

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #274

…Campbell hopes to have any of his colleagues from Florida A & M Hospital, who would like to practice out of LBMH, do so…

Loving Hold

Loving Hold by Marla Oliphant

“You haven’t stopped movin’ since you got back from Mayo,” complains Maggie Campbell. He continues Vertical-001Vertical-001his flitting around, having done it for the entire year leading up to the completion of LBMH. This time, an equally busy man covered with powdery white dust, gets his attention.

“The second floor won’t be finished for another week, Doctor Campbell,” reports the general contractor for the Laura Bell Memorial Hospital.

  “We’re goin’ to have a reception this Friday, whether you’re finished or not. I would appreciate you makin’ sure there ain’t a mess on the first floor. I expect maybe fifty people or more and I will need the room.”

“Don’t you worry bout a thing, Doc; I’ll make sure the guys clean up good. Heck we won’t be doin’ anything on Friday anyway, mostly waiting on those special doors you need.”

“As long as there is a front door, Laura Bell Memorial Hospital will be open for business on Saturday. My Project 18-001In fact, I’m having a group of doctors over this afternoon for a tour.” Campbell hopes to have any of his colleagues from Florida A & M Hospital, who would like to practice out of LBMH, do so. There is such a great need for health care in the back streets of Frenchtown, no one doctor should shoulder the load, let alone the expense, of treating the less fortunate. It is his noble cause, but he also hopes that the other black physicians will eagerly take up the call. “Maggie, would you drop in our nurses, make sure they will be at the reception. Have you seen the trucking company yet? Those stainless steel examinin’ tables should have come in from Pittsburgh already.”

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A.O & his Nursing Staff

“Alpha Campbell, you’re actin’ like a mother hen, I swear. You know Lilly Chevis is my best friend and head nurse. I think she has the girls ready. Let the good Lord take care of the details and you take care of those doctor friends of yours. I had Cook make two big pitchers of lemonade, oh and some of those finger sandwiches you like so much.”

“Oh, Maggie, I don’t know what I’d do without you.” True enough. Without her inheritance from John Ferrell, thirty or so years ago, there is no huge house, no chauffeur driven Cadillac, no servants, no parties at the country club; just the prestige of being a respected physician. And the hospital? Forget about it. They would be living on love and not much more, which is not so bad, because that is just what they actually share. It just so happens they get a new car every year, has four people on their household staff and they have their very own hospital right across their driveway.

“Let’s get this thing going, Alpha.” She spreads her arms out to encompass the entire whiteness of LBMH. “Maybe you will be able to deliver our first grandchild here. Laura tells me that she and Franklin are tryin, to have a baby.”

“That would be somethin’ Maggie!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

"God is Like a Mother Hen" Mosaic from the church of Dominus Flevit - Jerusalem

“God is Like a Mother Hen” Mosaic from the church of Dominus Flevit – Jerusalem

Episode #274


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #269

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #269

Chapter Fifteen

HOSPITALITY

…The Florida court system in 1946 is stacked up with ever increasing lawsuits, due in large part to the exponential increase in the number of attorneys…

Fast Forward-001

“You said you were going to retire this year, James,” reminds Abigail Ferrell-Ferrell to her husband.

“I said that I would consider it and I have. It’s just that Alpha has these nagging little malpractice suits thatLawsuit seem to drag on forever.” It is true. The Florida court system in 1946 is stacked up with ever increasing lawsuits, due in large part to the exponential increase in the number of attorneys and their incessant snooping and digging, for what amounts to manufacturing business.

  • If a baby is born with a birth defect, sue.
  • If a woman develops an infection after delivering the baby, sue.
  • If the husband trips on the hospital stairway while taking his crippled baby and ill wife home, sue.
  • If the receptionist looks cross-eyed at the family when they are readmitted, of course, sue.

“And that hospital he is intent on building, he is going to need as much advice as I can give.”

James Ferrell Lawyer “You are 66 years old and Alpha himself told you that ulcer you had a couple of years ago will come back if you don’t cut back.” Abbey has been the best wife a man can have, not to mention having aged, oh so well. When James looks at her, like he is now, discerning her caring and what wisdom is behind it, he cannot help but see that quaking 15 year old, the scared little girl that had just witnessed the killing of her father, at the hands of the slaves who used to attend to her every need.

“I understand where you are coming from Abbey, but you have been taking such good care of me. I have never felt better.”

There is a knock on the door of their San Luis Lake home. Abbey opens it to reveal the main topic of their discussion.

“Well, A.O. Campbell, your ears must have been ringing. We were just talking about you,” she shares.

“Nothin’ bad I trust. I know I have been takin’ most of your man’s time lately, probably got me on your bad side.”

“Oh nonsense, Doc Campbell, how can a sweet man like you ever cause anyone any harm?”

“I bet you that James has a few names he could offer in that category.”

“Intent is 90% of the law, Alpha and I cannot for the life of me recall you hurting so much as a pesky housefly.”

At a glance, the doctor’s diminutive stature and dapper manner of dress is proof in the putting. He is the physical image of his deportment, from the brim of his crisply brimmed hats to the tips of his perfectly polished shoes.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Intent by Terry Cullen

Episode #269


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